Adam Trest: The Rising Southern Artist & Illustrator

Adam Trest is one of Laurel's most beloved fine artists and illustrators. He's created hundreds of original prints for Laurel Mercantile Co. and custom pieces for homeowners on the show. One of which is the beloved fox painting for the Davis-Jefcoat House here. 

Today, he takes on a new title — illustrator of Erin Napier's new children's book, The Lantern House.

Adam has been a full-time artist for almost nine years. He previously owned a downtown storefront for five years, and has even been an art teacher in Laurel's local schools. His experience is vast and a bit "all over the place," as he would say, but he believes everything has led to this moment in his career.

Adam says, "When we closed our store, I started teaching at Nora Davis Magnet School. My family is full of educators, so it made sense. It was good for me to be in that environment and teaching my kid and others again. I was working with the most creative people I've ever met; using bulletin board paper and hot glue helped me get back to the basics. After producing products for the store constantly, teaching allowed me to love creating something again."

Soon COVID-19 changed everything in the spring of 2020. It forced students and teachers to remote learning and became a challenging time for Adam and his students in many ways. 

"I had been working with watercolor for ten years, and I wanted to try something new. I worked with sculptures, black line drawings, and then started adding acrylic ink to create a more vibrant style."

Adam became more accustomed to using opaque paint and layering in a way he had never experimented before. The exact drawings he had created time and time again took on a new form. The ideas flowed more easily than ever in the long days of quarantine, and through a challenging season, Adam's work had bloomed into something new.

"It let me play again. I mean, like for months, I just played with paint. Before, I was pretty prolific with producing tons of work because I had to. Now I was creating because I wanted to."


"The growth from that time at home and being with my family was incredible. When the time came for me to renew my contract to teach again, I knew that I wanted to be in my studio full-time. I was pleased with where I was, and with the work I was creating. From that point on, I was able to see my favorite pieces ever come to fruition."

Adam created over 170 original pieces in 2020 and partnered with Laurel Mercantile Co. to bring his work to the homes of thousands of Home Town viewers across the world. Now his winding journey takes on a new chapter; a lifelong dream is becoming a reality with The Lantern House

"I've known that I wanted to be an illustrator since I first learned it was a job. I remember looking through the pages of The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg as a 6 year old, finding all the details that were hidden throughout. I remember my mom explaining to me that the job of the illustrator is to bring the story to life through art... and that was it. I was hooked."

"My journey as an artist has taken lots of twists and turns. Whether I was building a set for a theatrical production, painting a portrait, or designing a pattern for a fabric or wallpaper, I have always started by asking myself—what is the story I want to tell?"

Adam shares, "Erin and I have worked on many projects together throughout the years. Our relationship has always been one where we challenge each other to make our craft better. Working on The Lantern House has been a dream come true both professionally and personally."


"My hope is that my girls will share this story and my paintings with their children and maybe even their grandchildren one day."

 Pre-order The Lantern House today!